#NextLevel Class of 2017 Begins To Form

From the Twitter account of Fleming Island senior Jason Davis:

“Super excited for what’s about to come! Verbally committed to wrestle at Southeastern University. A big step to a new beginning! #brickbybrick”

Davis is a two-time state placewinner in his HS career, first in 2A for Oakleaf in 2014-15 and in 3A for the Golden Eagles last year. He has two district titles and one region title under his belt.

I’m not sure if Davis is SEU’s first verbal commit of 2016-17, but he’s the first I’ve seen on the Fire’s Twitter feed going back into the summer. The pipeline from Northeast Florida to Lakeland continues to grow stronger…

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Some Random Updates

We have a last-minute addition to the Fundraising page for Saturday that St Johns County fans, and Nease ones in particular, will want to look at. Who wants to wash their own car this weekend, anyway? It’s going to be perfectly gorgeous out and there are quite possibly a million football games to watch. I’ll be doing so on the beach, myself.

I hope to see many of you on Sunday at Dee’s in Orange Park, where I will be having brunch as part of the OPHS fundraiser (I normally just announce these, but am taking part in this one because it involves food and I typically get hungry after church). I’ll be out there, Son of Matman will be out (you can again attempt to persuade him to go out for wrestling). And hopefully you’ll be out there, too.

The opinion piece about a true 4th sparked some decent commentary on Twitter, so I may work through scenarios, on Sunday afternoon, on how a true 4th would have played out in the 2016 district tournaments. One thing to keep in mind, as there was some confusion — the true 4th wrestleback would only be granted to the wrestler who got to the blood round and then lost to the eventual third-place finisher, and only if he or she didn’t meet up with the fourth-placer earlier in the tournament. There would be no change under that scenario for the wrestlers falling in the blood round to the eventual 4ths.

It was even suggested that a “true” 2nd could be added. That would at least solve the issue of region brackets where the two best wrestlers in the bracket are paired up in the semis, but on the other hand the runnerup usually has to win three matches to get to the final, and there’s something to be said for that, too.

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Matmen Opinion Piece — A “True” 4th?

Quick question: What do Robert Sheridan, Justin Trinh, Daniel Pigg, Steven Stanton, Logan Womack, Jason Griffis, Gray Creed, Caleb Steinmetz, Corey Paine, Blake Delapaz and Chris Shauman have in common?

I’ll wait… (hums Jeopardy theme)

They’re all wrestlers? Check. That’s the easy part.

All 11 graduated from their respective schools this past May (or perhaps June depending on when the date actually was). All 11 were one match away from the state tournament in February.

And, if “The Matman” had unlimited power, all 11 — along with 24 other local wrestlers that have another shot in future seasons — would have had one more match to try to get to Kissimmee.

These wrestlers all lost in the consolation semis, or “blood round” if you will, to the eventual third-place finisher in their weight classes at their respective region tournaments.

I know I’m always on here talking about Iowa and how Iowa does things, but one thing that I truly do like is Iowa’s wrestleback concept. At both the district and region levels of individual state series competition in that state, where only two wrestlers advance onward, brackets do get wrestled out to third place. If the third-place competitor did not wrestle the runner-up at any time in the tournament, there is a wrestleback to determine a “true” second. It is a very competitive round and does count toward the team score, which is a big deal for team dual bracketing.

I’d like to see that concept applied at least at the region level (unless districts were calibrated in such a way that there was a more-or-less even number of teams in each district, I don’t think it could or even should be done at the district level) here in Florida. Instead of a true second as in Iowa, there would be the opportunity to wrestle back for a “true” fourth place. It would be contested after the finals and third-place matches were complete, with rest time allowed.

Here’s the only downside I can see. In Iowa, not every weight class sees a wrestleback. In other words, the runnerup and the third-place competitor — particularly at the district level — would have faced off during the tournament (usually the semis), and then the runnerup is walked over into true second. If the tournament is seeded perfectly, and wrestled according to seed (does that ever happen?), there would be no wrestlebacks. At the individual region level in Iowa, where there are only four competitors per class, wrestlebacks happen a lot more often.

In Florida’s region tournament, with up to 16 kids in a bracket, it’s going to be pretty rare (if not impossible) that the fourth-place finisher and the kid who lost in the blood round to the eventual third would have seen each other in the tournament, so there would be 14 wrestlebacks, which admittedly is time-consuming on what already is a long day. The schedule for regions on Saturday would need adjusting. I think there’s some room for that to happen, but it would be an adjustment for everyone.

But consider this. Look at our list at the top there. Of those 11 kids, only one — Griffis — ever got to Kissimmee, as competitors, in their careers.

These were the 35 wrestlers who were one match short of state after losing to the eventual third-place finisher at regions:

1A: Griffis, Creed, Steinmetz, Paine, Ikeon Myles, Chase Clark, Delton Griffin, KJ Fagan, Max Martinez, Joey Borrell, Jarkeis Bass, Caleb Calhoun, Andrew Annand, Josiah McCallum.

2A: Sheridan, Trinh, Pigg, Stanton, Womack (although he may have been hurt and couldn’t actually have wrestled back), Frank Sawyer, Nate Golmon, Logan Mellor, Landon Dains, Michel Augustin, Bryan Heflin, Henry Segura, Cory Grower, Hunter Hall.

3A (District 1 kids affected only): Delapaz, Shauman, Andrique Broughton, Trace Insalaco, Khauriee Sullivan, Owen Beining, Steve Canidate.

Every kid that finished fourth at regions deserved to go to state. That isn’t the argument being made here. Nor is the argument being made to send more kids from each region. Four’s a good number.

The argument is simply that, just maybe, some of these kids might have had region tournaments or a body of work that were just as deserving as those fourth-place finishers, but because of region bracketing (in a format where seeding isn’t taken into account and brackets are pre-determined by formula), they were watching states instead of competing in them.

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Matanzas Pushes List To 24

Matanzas has sent in its schedule, our second of the day and 24th thus far as momentum continues to build toward the upcoming season.

Most of the Pirates’ events were on their calendar last year, but Matanzas will be going to two new larger tournaments in 2016-17, with an appearance at Seabreeze’s Hollingsworth Duals on the Saturday of Week 3 in December (the 17th), and the Pirates will also compete in the Flagler Duals, at crosstown rival Flagler Palm Coast, on January 13-14. Those should be new events, at least compared to last year’s schedule.

As for returning events, the Pirates will host their one-day duals event on the Saturday of Week 1 in December and will travel to Tallahassee’s Capital City Classic, hosted by Chiles, on the weekend of Week 2. In January, Matanzas will again host the St Johns River Conference tournament, with eight other league opponents in the fray in a dual round-robin format. The Pirates will also return to the Flagler Rotary on the final weekend of January and to the Clay Rotary on the first weekend of February. Female Pirate wrestlers will have opportunities for girls-only events at Osceola on December 3 and potentially Timber Creek on January 11.

Matanzas also has several midweek duals on the docket, starting on December 14th with an away dual at Atlantic, and hosting Deland on December 21st. The Pirates’ Senior Night is scheduled for January 18 against Pine Ridge, and they will travel to Deltona on January 25th. Finally, Matanzas will host the #BattleForFlagler on February 8 against Flagler Palm Coast, in what is at least the Pirates’ regular-season finale.

There’s the 24th team in hand. Who will be NEXT?

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Cardinals Bring Us Halfway There

Our 23rd (and also 24th, to be posted shortly) schedule came in this morning, as Bishop Snyder’s submission puts the Matmen master calendar at 50% complete with two months to go before pre-season competitions begin.

The Cardinals are bookending some new events with familiar stops on the calendar, as Bishop Snyder will host North Florida Duals on the Saturday of Week 1 (with 16 teams in hand, will be a full gym that day — Matmen will be there, although, as it seems to always fall, I will have a work Christmas party to attend), and will host Westside Kiwanis on the weekend of Week 2. In January, the Cardinals will return to Raines’ 5 Star roundrobin event on the final weekend of January and will also return to the Clay Rotary IBT in Green Cove Springs to wrap up the regular season.

In the middle are some new events for the Cardinals, who will compete in two events at District 3 rival Yulee, first the Hornets’ duals events on the Saturday of Week 3 in December (a one-day event) and the one-day Battle of the Border on January 7 (not sure if that’s an IBT or a roundrobin). On the second Saturday of January, Bishop Snyder will be at Ed White’s Commander Duals.

Midweek events for Bishop Snyder include a home dual with Raines on January 17 and a road trip at Bolles on January 24.

So that’s the tipping point, reached. We (well, I) know who #24 will be. Which team will be 25th?

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Bolles Brings Total To 22

The Bulldogs check in as our 22nd team to send a Northeast-side schedule, and we only have one Duval private school that’s still outstanding at this point.

There does not appear to be any new events on the Bolles calendar, which will see the Bulldogs at Bishop Snyder on back-to-back weekends in Weeks 1 and 2 for North Florida Duals on the Saturday of Week 1 and the weekend of Week 2.

In January, Bolles will be at Episcopal’s Bierbaum Invitational (not sure if that will wind up being a one- or two-day event at this point) on the first weekend of the month, and will also compete in the Flagler Rotary in Palm Coast on the last. I think there’ll be a new event, eventually, for the Bulldogs, as they’re scheduled to be at Bartram Trail for the Bear Duals, which is not going to be held this year. Bolles will be in Green Cove Springs for the Clay Rotary on the first weekend of February, its season finale.

In single duals this season, Bolles will be at Episcopal on January 11, host Bishop Snyder on January 24 and travel to Fletcher on February 1.

Just one more puts us to the halfway point. Which team will do it? Will it be YOURS?

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Email “Blast” Sent

I have just emailed all of the coaches in the coverage area, covering a variety of topics:

  • Schedules (this is the big push right now)
  • Promoting awareness of the existence of the JV/middle school schedule page, the fundraising page and our dates needed page

I have reached out to see if Coach McFarlane is indeed returning to Pedro Menendez and could use some help in finding out if Coach Archer is returning to Bradford. If so on that one, I need better contact info.

Looking forward to Year 4 unfolding with some new looks this season…

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